Texas Governor Rick Perry may have had a tough slot in following Sarah Palin, but he proved to be up to the challenge. Perry delivered a stemwinder speech that had the crowd roaring on numerous occasions, and in doing so delivered a tough message to his own party. “Don’t tell me you’re a Republican,” Perry warned, “and don’t protect the innocent,” a sentiment that got a standing ovation. Perry took on his own party’s establishment, at least indirectly, than any of the previous major speakers.

I’ve seen Perry give speeches on television (mainly on YouTube) and knew he could be dynamic.  Earlier in the day, I mentioned that alone among the other speakers on the ticket today, Perry had the only shot at matching the energy of Sarah Palin’s appearance.  Perry has a very active delivery, in the same manner as a preacher.  He doesn’t stand still, but instead puts his whole body into what he says.  Perry’s speech turned a political conference into a Republican revival meeting, complete with the call to action at the end.

Perry’s first priority will be to win re-election in Texas later this year, which shouldn’t present a difficult task.  If after that he decides to get serious about a run for the Presidency, don’t count him out.  He’ll have more than two terms as an executive in a state that, as Perry reminded everyone in the speech, ranks first for economic growth thanks to Republican efforts to trim costs and keep taxes low.  He could very well be the kind of challenger that could make Obama’s shot at a second term very, very difficult.

Here’s an interesting factoid: Perry’s not listed on the SRLC straw poll.

Update: Perry asked to have his name kept off the straw poll, according to CNN.

Thanks to our good friend The Right Scoop, you can watch it all here: